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(Review originally written at 17 April 2010)

The foremost reason why this is a standout movie-series is because of it's unusual and highly original main concept. There are plenty of Japanese movies about a shogun, ronin or a samurai fulfilling their destinies and travel through the country, getting into all kind of adventures and troubles. The Kozure Ôkami-series has an original take on this type of movies by letting the main character carry and drive around his infant son in an armed and dangerous baby cart. His infant son even helps him in battle sometime. No big surprise that this all is being based on a manga-series, by Kazuo Koike, who also contributed to this movie its script.

It also becomes obvious that this movie is being based on a manga when you look at its violence. It's really deliberately being over-the-top and the entire series is well known for featuring fountains of blood, whenever someone gets struck down or gets a limb or head cut off. It's a pretty bloody movie but because it all gets down in such an over-the-top way, it's nothing too shocking to watch, even when you don't have the stomach for it.

It are really its action sequences that stand out and there is plenty of action in this one. All of the fights got nicely choreographed and brought to the screen and above all things they also often have something original to offer. Often Itto uses some tricks to fool his opponents and can strike down the best trained and most powerful shogun with one strike because of some clever and unexpected moves and tricks, sometimes helped by his infant son Daigorô.

The movie is good looking, thanks to its fine directing, that provides the movie with some nicely done sequences but also due to its great looking environments. The movie often uses nature elements and environments as a key part of the movie its climatic battles, such as water or the sun.

All in all, a great start of the series!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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